Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s On Life After Death is a concise primer on the dying. The author a psychiatrist at the University of Chicago explained the stages a patient goes through while dying. She reported that as people die, they shed what she described as their cocoon – their outer shell.
This process Kübler-Ross emphasized take the form of leaving their cocoon like a butterfly, and transforming into an ethereal state. With this consciousness an individual can witness the events of his death. He will know details of the operation room, and the doctors that are endeavoring to save his life.
These phenomena have repercussions for individuals who have had near-death experiences. The author pointed out that handicap people whether they are blind or amputees come to experience bodies that are completely rejuvenated when they encounter that brilliant light that they often describe.
Kübler-Ross explained as people transit to their ethereal bodies they will normally go through a channel, cross a bridge, or be guided across a mountain pass. On this journey there is a “guardian angel” or “guide.” This individual the author considered to be a religious figure like Christ, Mary, Mohamed, or a spouse, or good friend who has previously died. In death it does not matter if an individual is religious or non-religious. He or she will experience this same reality.
The author hopes that her audience will be able to look at death as a normal phenomenon. She suggested listening to the dying, and providing an environment that facilitates for the smooth transition to the other world.